Remember the TV Show, Dusty’s Trail?


This short-lived series from 1973 was Gilligan’s Island set in the old west. Quite literally. It starred Bob Denver (ie, Gilligan) as the titular Dusty, a role identical to that of Gilligan. It also featured Forrest Tucker (the sargeant from F Troop) in Skipper’s place, and some other people as a rich old couple, an intellectual guy, a “girl next door”, and a showgirl. Instead of getting trapped on an island, they are part of a wagon train, which Dusty causes to get lost on the trail. The series wasn’t very popular because it was so derivative of Gilligan’s Island, which was still in reruns on many stations.

Personally, I think they would have had more success if they had tied it to Gilligan’s Island more directly, perhaps by claiming it was one of Gilligan’s ancestors. They could have even had something in the opening along the lines of “it’s not Gilligan’s fault, bumbling grows in his family tree, why just look at the antics of his great (well, maybe not SO great…) grandfather Dusty…”.

Because of it’s lack of popularity, the studios never bothered to renew the copyright, so the episodes are now in the public domain. If you haven’t seen the show, you might have seen the movie they compiled from four of it’s episodes “The Wackiest Wagon Train in the West”.

If you enjoyed Gilligan’s Island and wanted more, you should definitely give Dusty’s Trail a go. Most of the episodes can be found on, youtube, and cheapo DVDs.


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4 thoughts on “Remember the TV Show, Dusty’s Trail?

  1. RetroArt says:

    Well, Sherwood Schwartz produced this, DUSTY’S TRAIL, as well as GILLIGAN’S ISLAND and was probably looking to have lightening strike twice with DT. Looking at the Wikipedia entry for Schwartz, he must’ve thought highly of Bob Denver since, besides these to series, Schwartz included him in at least two other series pilots, SCAMPS and THE INVISIBLE WOMAN. Both of which never made it to series and, interestingly, both were done in the early ’80s.
    As to why this show didn’t fair as well as GI? For me, I’d guess it was the pacing of the show. From the very beginning, with its plodding opening theme song to the molasses delivery of an older Forrest Tucker, it just seems to be a television show that’s too slow to get out of its own way.

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